Related to my thoughts about the mortality of software and the announcement that Weather Line is shutting down, Jonas Downey of Basecamp writes about the meaning of buying a “lifetime” software license:
But in software, “lifetime” doesn’t mean a human lifetime, or even the lifetime of a whole business. It only represents the creator’s commitment to tending something.
When you buy a lifetime subscription, you’re buying into someone’s garden. They’ll keep sending you radishes as long as they’re in the dirt. Hopefully for a good long while, but who knows.
When you think about it this way, software is not such a technical thing. It’s a human thing. Buying an app is also buying a relationship with the people who make it.
It’s a natural reaction to get angry if a piece of software you rely on, and supported, is put out to pasture. But a little perspective can be helpful.